Casper, Wy. (Feb. 24, 2004) -- In a twist on the trend toward outsourcing, newly launched firm Accountants In India finds accounting professionals in India to work directly for a U.S. firm, rather than shipping the work to anonymous workers abroad, according to its chief operating officer, CPA Wayne E. Harding.

"We help accounting firms find qualified staff at competitive prices," said Harding. Harding previously served as chief executive for AccTrak21, senior director of product strategy for CPA2Biz, and as vice president with Great Plains Software. "The American firm selects the employee from the resumes we have posted on our Web site, and the Indian employee works directly for that firm."

Harding said the idea to start AII took shape when AII's chief executive, K.C. Truby, was training accountants in QuickBooks. "He was amazed at the skill level and work ethic and eagerness to serve," said Harding. "We thought it would be great to combine what we have in technology with their skill sets and put it to work in a paperless office environment."

The Indian employee works directly for the U.S. firm on a quarter-time, half-time or full-time basis. The employee reports to work at a facility in Bangalore, India, owned by a local partner of AII. "Some of our Indian employees are sitting for the Chartered Accountant exam, but they all have at least a four-year degree in accounting from an Indian university, and one to five years of experience," said Harding.

Meanwhile, outsourcing continues to draw the attention of lawmakers concerned with the loss of American jobs and potential security issues. In a Feb. 19 letter, Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., called on the chief executives of Citigroup, Bank of America, Ernst & Young, Equifax and TransUnion to establish adequate safeguards to protect the security of the data they outsource to foreign countries.

"In my view, American companies that are outsourcing consumer data to foreign countries must assume responsibility for the data," Feinstein wrote. "American consumers simply do not have the resources or legal remedies to address misuse of their information by foreign companies or their employees."

Feinstein warned the chief executives that if they fail to establish adequate safeguards, she may introduce federal legislation to protect Americans' personal data when used abroad.

-- Roger Russell

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